Washington: Allergists have said that removing dogs and cats from your home isn’t enough to avoid pet allergy.
They suggested the use of immunotherapy – allergy shots – combined with environmental changes to help control pet allergy symptoms.
“This is a common allergy that touches the hearts of so many,” said Dana Wallace, MD, ACAAI president.
“More than 90 percent of homes have measurable dog and cat allergens and 52 percent of homes have a pet. So not only is it a common allergy, but the allergen is everywhere,” Wallace stated.
And although individuals who are allergic to dogs and/or cats are advised to reduce their exposure to the animal, case studies have shown that cat dander is present even in places where a cat has never set a paw.
Allergists refer to this as “passive” exposure because the dander travels to school on students’ clothing and backpacks.
Dr. Wallace discusses the benefit of specific environmental interventions and the effectiveness of allergy shots for individuals who want to live comfortably with their pet.
She suggested some changes to reduce animal dander in the home, such as removing the animal from the bedroom to create an “allergy free zone,” using bleach to reduce the allergen on clothing or bedding, using HEPA room air cleaners and a HEPA vacuum, bathing animals regularly etc.
The changes were suggested at the annual scientific meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) in Boston, Nov. 3-8.